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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Very Hot Birding at Cley!!!

Hot, sticky weather all day, but cool sitting on the shingle ridge at the end of East Bank, Cley!

Cley, East Bank
Arrived at Cley fairly early and got the last parking space in the carpark. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was already, very warm. I counted 8 Spoonbills chilling on 'The Serpentine' adjacent to the East Bank – some were asleep and some were preening. Common Terns were fishing on 'Arnold's'. At the end of the East Bank I also decided to chill and sat down on the high shingle path and sat and watched the sea crashing onto the shingle. It was beautiful here, warm and with the sea breeze in my hair I felt very relaxed – a good place to be. I watched a constant stream of Sandwich Terns, Little Terns and Common Terns flying west and east and fishing just in front of me, what more could you ask for? Well a Bridled Tern would be good, but that's decided to stay in the north – silly bird! I sat here from 9.30am to 12pm. I saw a Golden Plover west, several Cormorants, 15 Dunlin west, 5 Curlew West, 2 Eider east. Enjoyed my breakfast of ginger and marmelade sandwiches. Eddie came and joined me and pointed out a dark phase Arctic Skua flying west at 10.40am, fairly close in which was very nice. Eddie then left to get a coffee fix. I walked back along the East Bank alone and watched 7 juv. Bearded Tits swaying on the reed stems, also 2 Little Egrets and 2 Reed Buntings were seen. 7 of the 8 Spoonbills remained on The Serpentine and also some other birders pointed out a Yellow Wagtail at 12.30pm, flicking about on the water's edge.

Lunch and the Church Fete!
I hadn't bought any lunch with me today, fed up with making sandwiches daily, so decided to have lunch at the Cley NWT Visitor Centre. The prices have gone up, but I do like their new choice of Houmous toastie with salad. It was nice to sit here in the cool and delayed leaving, as I didn't want to roast outside! Jovial banter with Pat before I left! Mr Furse made a grand entrance in his summer attire and informed me that he was going to the Cley Church Fete and then onto Holt Country Park to look for Silver-washed Fritillaries, which is exactly what I had planned to do, so we teamed up. I went to the church fete last year, but there were tons more people there this year. This may have had something to do with the fact that Anneka Rice was there to judge a fancy dog show. John bought some cake, I was very good and bought only a card for a friend. Rummaged through the bird books with Richard M., but didn't find anything I wanted. Richard Porter, Trever and Gill and a few other birders there. I didn't see Anneka Rice, maybe she was chilling in someone's house with tea and scones! It was a really good fete, if you like that sort of thing – there was a band playing, all sorts of games to participate in, home-made cake stall, plant stall, bric-a-brac etc etc. The artworks and photographs in the church were fascinating and there were cream teas and more tempting cakes to buy. Musicians also playing! They must have made a good bit of money for the church funds, it was jam packed! Escaped the crowds and left.

Holt Country Park
John parked in a secret free place! I parked in the carpark and had to pay £1.50 – its gone up from a £1!!! Don't even think of not getting a ticket for your car, as John and I saw TWO carparking attendants arrive to check the cars whilst we were there!

We checked out the first ride (the first one on your left as your drive along the track to the carpark) and found a very crisp White Admiral, but no fritillaries showing. Walked to the pond where we saw an Emperor Dragonfly and several damselflies, but again no sign of fritillaries. A frog posed for my camera, which another birder pointed out in the grass. Back at the first ride we looked in, we were very pleased to find, not only one, but three Silver-washed Fritillaries – they really are special butterflies! John left and I stayed on to take lots of pictures of butterflies with my macro lens. I wanted to go to Holt Lowes to look for black-tailed skimmers, but with the risk of adders around and open toed sandals, I decided this was not a sensible idea! Walked back to the car and had my tea which was a fruit salad I had made.

Daukes Hide, Cley NWT
I can't remember the last time I had sat in this hide – it was lovely to be here. The light this evening was stunning and there was a good mix of birds on the pools. I wasn't in the mood for counting, but I would estimate 300+ Black-tailed Godwits. Loads of Avocets, Shelducks, Redshanks, Ruffs, a single Spotted Redshank, a few Dunlin, Little Egrets, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and also 1 1s Little Gull flying around. 3 Marsh Harriers including one passing food to another. Ringed Plover with juvs., Common Terns, Grey Heron, Pied Wagtails etc! Also lots of Sand Martins skimming through later on. I reluctantly left at 9pm.


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